Lukaku’s double fires Belgium to 3-0 win over Ireland

Sunday, 2016-06-19 13:42:10
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Lukaku (left) celebrates his opener for Belgium.
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NDO – A double by Lukaku and another strike by Witsel helped Belgium emerge as 3-0 victors against Ireland in their second Group E match on the evening of June 18.

Belgium showed their determination to bag the full three points by proactively putting pressure on the Irish side right from the first whistle.

Confronted with strong attacks from the “Red Devils”, Ireland chose to play counterattack, and this tactic proved effective enabling them to block offensive waves from Belgium until the halftime.

The match’s turning point came three minutes after the break as Lukaku fired a left-footed shot at the far corner to put Belgium in front.

The sudden loss robbed the Irish of their patience. Instead of retaining the same tactic as the first half, Ireland began to deploy attacks seeking to equalise, which unexpectedly made holes in their defensive wall, allowing Axel Witsel and Lukaku scoring twice at 61 and 70 minutes to seal an aggregate 3-0 victory for Belgium.

The convincing performance against Ireland lifted the “Red Devils” to second place in Group E with four points, thus giving them a huge advantage in the race for the group’s remaining official place in the last 16. Earlier, Italy edged Sweden 1-0 to become the first Group E team to advance despite having one match to play.

The two Group F matches concluded early on June 19 with the four teams scoring one point each.

Despite taking the lead at 40 minutes thanks to Sigurdsson’s successful penalty converter, Iceland could not preserve the advantage till the final whistle as defender Seavarsoon unluckily brought the ball into his own net with two minutes to go to gift Hungary a precious 1-1 draw.

Meanwhile, Portugal were held by Austria to a goalless draw on a day when Cristiano Ronaldo missed a 78th-minute penalty.

 

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